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North Korean satellite likely dead and out of control, New York Times reports

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north south korea border
north south korea border

A satellite launched by North Korea last week is likely dead in space, The New York Times reports. The satellite headed to orbit successfully, carrying a camera to observe the Earth, but Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell tells the Times that it's now "tumbling and we haven’t picked up any transmissions... Those two things are most consistent with the satellite being entirely inactive at this point." That's similar to what we heard shortly after launch, when US officials told NBC News that the satellite was "tumbling out of control" in orbit. McDowell says that though the rocket launch clearly "worked very well," evidence suggested that the satellite had either failed as it ascended to orbit or shortly afterwards.

North Korea has attempted to launch satellites before, but they've failed at various parts of the mission — a previous one, Unha-3, crashed into the ocean earlier this year. At the time of launch, the White House called it "yet another example of North Korea’s pattern of irresponsible behavior," and NORAD confirmed that an object "appeared to achieve orbit," lending credence to North Korea's own reports. Since then, there has been no further official word from either party, and it's highly unlikely we'll hear any confirmation of failure from North Korea itself.